Ambulance Service

AM01

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Ph: (403) 742-1900
5906 - 47 Avenue
Box 500
Stettler, AB   T0C 2L0

 

 

 

 

 

Operation of ambulances to remain under local authority

Richard Froese

Independent reporter

When ground ambulance emergency medical services (EMS) transfers from many municipalities to Alberta Health Services (AHS) on April 1, municipalities in the Stettler region will remain operating the services.

Starting on April 1 - no April Fool's joke - the ambulance service will be fully funded by the provincial government rather than local municipalities, said Leona Thorogood, who chairs Stettler District Ambulance Association.

"We recently signed an agreement (in principle) with Alberta Health Services that we will operate the local ambulance service for two years, and the province will fully fund that contract."

"Our municipalities are heavily subsidizing EMS."

Under the current system, local municipalities fund $21 per resident for EMS, said Thorogood.

Municipalities and EMS service operators were given the option to continue operating EMS service last year when the government announced plans to transfer service to the provincial health system.

Shifting the operation to provincial authority was planned as a move to improve patient care, accountability and efficiency.

"Basically, it's status quo for ambulance service in the Stettler region, and we will have funding stability for two years," said Thorogood.

Under the new agreement, Stettler EMS will provide service with two advance life support (ALS) ambulances 24 hours a day, seven days a week and two mechanical back-up ambulances - on with basic life support (BLS) and one with BLS and ALS.

Staff levels will be maintained under the new contract.

"We have great staff here and in the last year, staff and service has stabilized, and we've got newer equipment," said Thorogood.

Stettler ambulance association was committed to operating the local service even with the transfer of operations.

"We had no certainties with a transfer, and we knew it would not be possible for all ambulance services to be transferred this year," said Thorogood

"Our primary goal is to provide full service care in our communities."

That commitment is echoed by AHS.

"When Albertans phone for emergency medical services (EMS) on or after April 1, 2009, EMS will be available," says Brenda Fischer, senior vice president of EMS with Alberta Health Services.

"Our first priority remains unchanged - we are committed to providing Albertans with safe, quality and timely patient care."

 

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